Can I just tell you all how much I love you for sticking it out with me through this monster of a story? Your nice comments even made me go back and edit some upcoming chapters for their utter cheesiness and OOC-ness and editing, WOW! Mad mad love.


The next morning, Dean felt like Satan himself had crawled out of the pit and repeatedly screamed "GOOD MORNING, VIETNAM!" at him while simultaneously using his intestines as a punching bag.

"Christ. I'm never drinking again." He groaned to himself. His eyes were still closed. He was afraid if he opened them that the light would make him puke again. He never remembered to shut his blinds after a night of hard drinking.

"Probably not a bad idea." A voice beside him.

Dean opened his eyes and thankfully, it wasn't too bright. Someone had remembered to draw the curtains and blinds the night before.

"Cas, I'm an asshole." Dean said automatically.

The previous night was hazy, but he remembered most of it. What he remembered most of all was being unnecessarily cruel to Castiel and then vomiting on the side of the road three times during the treacherously long walk back to his apartment.

"You were an asshole. You were a giant fucking spiteful, angry, whiny asshole." Castiel muttered.

"I'm really sorry."

"I know."

"You're not freaking out?" Dean asked. He automatically regretted the words as they came out of his mouth.

Castiel tensed up beside him and then rolled over, so he was facing Dean.

"I was freaking out. At first. Then I remembered how upset you were, how fucking wasted you were, and I knew you didn't mean it." He said carefully.

"Really?"

"Really. I know you don't believe me, but I've told you, time and time again, I'm not going to break. I've been through too much to let a few nasty comments from my drunken boyfriend send me over the edge."

Dean thought about the night Castiel had destroyed his apartment, shoved Jo, and then broken down at the park by the ocean. He thought about everything Castiel had gone through, the way he casually mentioned being institutionalized. All of this had made Dean so afraid of sending him back to that place. He was so afraid that he was incredibly careful with him, treating him like a porcelain doll.

Words from the night before spilled into his head.

I have had much bigger, scarier guys than you threaten me before

Dean didn't say it out loud, but he was realizing that maybe him being an asshole wasn't something that really bothered Castiel all that much.

I grew up in homes surrounded by guys like you.

To Cas, he was a "guy like that."

That hurt him more than he'd ever admit.

In a way though, he was glad that Castiel had stood up to him, because it was finally starting to sink in that his Castiel wasn't made of glass. More than likely, he was made of stone. He'd proven that to Dean the night before. Just like he'd proven it to him time and time again just by existing, just by smiling, despite all of the terrible things that had happened to him.

"Dean?"

"I'm sorry. I'm just hungover." He muttered.

"Your mom called." Castiel said, as if it were an afterthought. "Don't be mad, I tried to wake you up, but you were passed out."

"Cas…" He warned. Dean felt his walls coming back up, he felt the familiar anger that always came over him when someone nosed into his family business.

"Dean." He said simply.

"Cas… why didn't you try harder to wake me up?" He groaned. "Christ, what time is it?"

"It's only 10 and it's Saturday. She called this morning around 8. I tried to wake you up. I even slapped you and nothing." He said. "Anyway, I thought you'd like to know that your brother is lucid."

Dean felt an enormous sense of relief wash over him. A portion of his hangover even seemed to dissipate.

"But… it's only been a day or so." Dean said, mostly to himself.

"Your mom wouldn't tell me much, understandably. She just said that he's lucid and that they moved him down to 'tier 1' which I assume is better than 'tier 2.'"

"Thank God." Dean breathed. "Cas, tier 2 is where they put the real crazy people. Like, psychotics live there. If Sammy's in tier 1, that means he'll be out by tomorrow or the next day. Thank god."

"I told her that you'd call this afternoon and that you'd talk to Sam." Castiel said.

"Cas!" Dean cried.

"You owe me, Winchester. After being such a dick to me last night and then puking on my favorite shoes, you owe me, and talking to your brother, facing him, is how you're going to repay me."

"I PUKED ON YOUR SHOES?"

"Yep. You did. So, will you talk to your brother?" Castiel said.

Dean groaned again. "Yes. Goddamn, when did you start getting all bossy?"

"Since I realized I could boss you around." Castiel said, his voice actually filled with some humor. "Now, go take a shower, you're disgusting."

Not disagreeing with him, Dean did as he was told.

Dean came out of the bathroom, feeling much more human, and much better than he had while lying in bed. The hangover was still creeping at the edge of his stomach and his temples, but at least Satan was gone. He found Castiel in the living room, drinking a cup of coffee and sketching.

"Cas, I am really sorry. Please believe that." He said, sitting down next to him.

"Dean, it's okay." Castiel said softly, not looking up from his sketchbook.

"What are you drawing?"

"You." He said simply.

"Lemme see."

"No!" Castiel said, closing the sketchbook and holding it tightly against his chest.

"Aw, why not? Afraid I'll be pissed?" Dean said, trying to be good-natured, even though he was a little offended.

Castiel had never made a huge deal about him seeing his art before. He had actually gone through Castiel's sketchbooks a few times when he was at the apartment by himself or when Castiel was sleeping.

"My sketchbooks… they're private." Castiel said carefully.

Dean gulped. He hadn't known that. He decided not to mention browsing through them as if they were an issue of Busty Asian Beauties.

"…and it's not complete yet." He finished.

Dean thought about bringing up Castiel talking to his mother like they were best friends, but decided against it. He'd picked enough fights the night before.

"All of them are private?" He asked, fishing for information.

"Not all of them, but it's like a diary, Dean. You wouldn't want someone reading your diary."

"I don't keep a diary. I don't have a vagina." He joked.

Castiel made a face. "You're ridiculous." He said, smiling a little bit. "Your preconceived notions about men and women have always amused me, especially considering the company you keep."

"What do you mean by that?" He asked ingenuously.

"You're always comparing Jo and Charlie to men, even though they are both 'lipstick lesbians' as they say and last night you compared me to a woman because I occasionally show emotion. You also seem to constantly fear being seen as a woman just because you're in a relationship with another man, which is actually quite ironic, if you think about it." Castiel said nonchalantly.

"Quit analyzing me, Freud."

Dean reached over and extricated the sketchbook from his hands, and then he tackled him, because, hell, tackling him was masculine thing to do, right? Castiel squealed and writhed beneath him in a way that made Dean forget about everything they were just discussing. He leaned over and kissed Castiel on the spot beneath his ear, moving his mouth down the edge of his face to his throat. He nipped at his collarbone and then pulled away and waggled his eyebrows at him suggestively.

"Dean! That's not fair! We were having a serious, intellectual…" He whined.

Dean kissed him again, while lightly pushing the front of his shirt up to around his chest. He moved his mouth down to Castiel's abdomen, which was so flat and pale. He kissed each one of his hipbones, which always seemed to jut so prominently and leave purple bruises on his inner thighs. At first he'd been surprised by those bruises because Castiel seemed so frail, almost like he'd blow away if you breathed too hard. It didn't seem like someone like Castiel could leave marks like that. They didn't surprise him anymore. Everything about Castiel did though.

"Cas." He breathed. "Cas, I love you so fucking much."

"Are you talking to my crotch?" Castiel murmured, seemingly unaware of the miniature revelations Dean had been having all morning.

Dean looked up at him and just smiled. "Not yet."

He skimmed his hands up the side of his body, fingers ghosting his ribs and his chest. Castiel's body twitched involuntarily as Dean kissed the pliant skin beneath his navel.

"Not fair." He groaned. "You know what that light touch does to me."

Dean unzipped his jeans. "Hello Castiel's crotch." He said.

"You are such a fucking—OH GOD." He yelped as Dean moved his mouth even lower.

Afterwards, they lay naked on the couch, limbs twined. Dean had to admit he had grown rather fond of cuddling, at least for short periods of time. Post-coital bliss was a form of unmeasured happiness for him.

"Thanksgiving break starts… well… I guess it started for me today since I haven't gone to class the last two days." Dean said.

"I'm sorry. Should I have made you go?" Castiel asked, not really seeming like he cared too much.

"Nah. I've been a saint since I met you. The Saint of Not Skipping Class." He murmured.

"What do you want to do for the next week and a half?" He asked.

"You mentioned Washington. It's beautiful there. We could go for a day or two."

"Well, yeah, the University of Washington. I'm really considering their grad program. I was thinking about going up for a day and checking out the campus." Dean said.

Castiel tensed underneath him. The subject of Dean leaving Plainville, of leaving Oregon all together was not something they had discussed too much. Dean hadn't wanted to discuss it. He knew at some point they would have to, but he knew now wasn't the right time.

"Mount Rainier is cool." Dean said. "Have you ever been?"

"No. I haven't really left this town in the last two years." Cas admitted.

"Me neither." Dean said, chuckling.

"Let's go to Mount Rainier, then. We can spend a day in Seattle, get a hotel by the Space Needle, and then go check out Mount Rainier." Dean said.

"Sounds perfect." Castiel said.

They lay there for awhile, riding the post-orgasm high and finally Castiel spoke.

"I could come with you." He whispered. "To Seattle. You're not going right away until next winter, right?"

"Yeah, Cas. Not until next winter. We have time. Don't worry."

"I could come with you." He repeated in sort of a vague, far away voice.

Dean realized Castiel was leaving him, retreating into corners of his mind that Dean didn't fully understand.

He shook him a little bit and gripped his arm firmly around his narrow shoulders.

"Come back to me, Cas. I'm right here." He said.

Castiel wasn't stone; he wasn't glass; he was driftwood. Dean knew that he was too. They were keeping each other from drifting out to sea.